Social Defense Mechanisms:Tools for Reclaiming Our Personal Space
byLimor FriedSubmitted to theDepartment of Electrical Engineering and Computer ScienceJanuary 28, 2005In Partial Fulllment of the Requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineeringand Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Thesis Supervisor: Chris CsikszentmihalyiTitle: Director, Computing Culture Group at the MIT Media Lab
In contemporary Western society, electronic devices are becoming soprevalent that many people nd themselves surrounded by technologiesthey nd frustrating or annoying. The electronics industry has littleincentive to address this complaint; I designed two counter-technologiesto help people defend their personal space from unwanted electronicintrusion. Both devices were designed and prototyped with referenceto the culture-jamming “Design Noir” philosophy. The rst is a pair ofglasses that darken whenever a television is in view. The second is low-power RF jammer capable of preventing cell phones or similarly intrusivewireless devices from operating within a user’s personal space. Bybuilding functional prototypes that reect equal consideration of technicaland social issues, I identify three attributes of Noir products: Personalempowerment, participation in a critical discourse, and subversion.